According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cervical cancer was once the leading cause of cancer death for women in the U.S. But, thankfully, now most cervical cancers can be prevented.
In fact, over the last 40 years, the number of cervical cancer cases and deaths have decreased significantly due to women getting regular screenings that can find abnormal cells before they turn into cancer.
That’s why, during Cervical Health Awareness Month, Mercy Health System would like to encourage you to care for yourself, or the women in your life, by reminding you of the importance of regular health screenings.
A Pap test is recommended for women between ages 21 and 65, and can be done in a doctor’s office or clinic. Women should start getting Pap tests regularly at age 21. If your Pap test results are normal, your doctor may say you can wait three years until your next Pap test. If you are 30 years old or older, you may choose to have an HPV test along with the Pap test. Both tests can be performed by your doctor at the same time. If your test results are normal, your chance of getting cervical cancer in the next few years is very low. Your doctor may then say you can wait as long as five years for your next screening.
Remember, your health screenings are 100 percent covered by your health insurance as preventive care.
Also, having a Primary Care Physician (PCP) who can coordinate your care is vital. A PCP typically specializes in family medicine, internal medicine or general practice. If you don’t have a PCP, it’s easy to find one. Just visit your insurance carrier’s website, look for the “find a doctor” area and follow the instructions.
To find a Mercy Health physician, go to http://www.mercyhealth.org/find-a-doctor.